Meet One of PHXDW’s Keynote Speakers, Nakita M. Pope

Phoenix Design Week (PHXDW) is renowned for attracting some of the nation’s top design talent for their annual, week-long event, scheduled to take place this year from October 5–12. In addition to the incredible breakout sessions and activities that will be taking place throughout this year’s design celebration, PHXDW’s main event, the Beyond Design Conference on October 6 and 7, is what has us all buzzing.

Organized by community volunteers for fellow designers, illustrators, writers, UX professionals and other creatives, the Beyond Design Conference brings together world-class speakers and local experts for two full days of actionable insights, hands-on education and fire-fueling inspiration.

One of this year’s keynotes is the singularly brilliant Nakita M. Pope, chief chick and primary brand strategist of Branding Chicks, a boutique branding studio in Atlanta, Ga. Branding Chicks specializes in brand strategy, development, consulting and management for women-owned businesses and female-focused brands.

During the past 20 years, Nakita has worked as a strategist, graphic designer, creative director and brand manager, which has given her experiences that inform how she works with her clients. Her passion for brand strategy is also evident through her teaching advertising strategy, branding and design at the Creative Circus for the past 10 years.

Nakita loves to share her knowledge and experiences with a variety of audiences on the national speaking stage for organizations like BBDO Atlanta, The One Club, Public Relations Society of America, the Georgia Tech College of Business and of course, this year’s PHXDW.

Prior to the event, let’s take some time to learn a little bit more about Nakita!

  1. Tell us about a project or accomplishments from the past 10 years that had a major impact on your life or career.
    I was a strategist for a public campaign for the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta a few years ago and it changed me forever. I knew about the organization on the surface, but we really got a chance to do a deep dive into the work they do and how it impacts children and families. Hearing their stories and remembering my own friends who lost a child made that one personal for me. It not only reminded me of how we can all make impact regardless of the work we do, but that we are all so blessed in so many ways. Being a creative has always been a blessing for me because it is all I’ve ever wanted to do. So being able to utilize my creativity in a way that is a blessing to someone else felt like my career coming full circle.
  2. What is your favorite color, and why? Pantone numbers and Hex codes totally allowed.
    For the longest time I didn’t have one, but I can say that turquoise has been holding pretty steady for a few years, so I’ll claim it.
  3. What keeps you going when you’re focused on a project? Is there a particular saying or song that gets you moving?
    Deadlines keep me focused! LOL. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to stay focused sometimes, but usually the overarching goal and being able to visualize the outcome helps. I adopted the phrase “progress not perfection” a couple of years ago and it has made a big difference for me. Sometimes, when I’m stuck or avoiding a project, it’s because I’m afraid to start or worried that it’s not good instead of working through it. The idea that moving forward is way more important than perfection usually gets me unstuck.
  4. What’s your superpower, or one you wish you had?
    My current superpower is teaching. The one I wish I had is invisibility, which is ironic considering the teacher usually has to be in the front of the room. LOL
  5. What design or career advice would you give to your younger self?
    I would tell myself to be strategic but not try to control my career path too much. Some of those “detours” were the best thing to ever happen to me!
  6. If you were given the opportunity to see into the future, what would you want to know?
    I’d like to know where all of my students end up and if even the smallest bit of something I said or did helped them.
  7. How do you think design impacts your everyday life? The community?
    Design is all around us everyday. It baffles me and excites me at the same time when I think about the magnitude of it. For me (and the community), I think it means that there is inspiration EVERYWHERE. Whether it’s a beautifully crafted product package or the tiny veins in a leaf designed by nature, it is always there. It’ kind of comforting to my creative spirit.
  8. If you hadn’t ended up in the career you are in, what do you think you’d be doing?
    I would probably be in forensics or law enforcement. I absolutely love murder mysteries, cop shows and solving problems.